Today’s readers become literate by learning to read the words and symbols of today’s world. They analyze multiple representations of a variety of texts, pictures, artwork, data and videos. Ultimately, 21st Century literacy is where aural, oral, visual and digital literacies merge. This new literacy gives students the ability to read and produce words, images, videos and new media. There is a profound shift in the way students express themselves and communicate with their peers. As educators we need to adapt to this new literacy or become irrelevant to our students. The students are operating in a multi-modal and multi-layer environment which is modular and portable. Students have moved into an interactive and collaborative arena that connects them to their world. When you consider this university class, EC&I 832, is a perfect example of the ability of students to convey information, create new content and work with new literacies. Our class relies on multi media, online web tools and our ability to communicate together. Our students are going to insist that we begin to create the same type of learning environments for them. Simply consider the deep understanding we are developing beyond a teacher instructing us. We are free to develop our own interests and delve as deep as we desire to. What would happen if our students were able to develop their interests and create content based on those interests?
Thoughts inspired by http://www.youtube.com/user/peakdavid

What role do multi-modal and print-based texts play in the life of the 21st century learner?

A tongue in cheek view of “New Literacies for a New Age”

Members of the research team at Project New Media Literacies discuss the social skills and cultural competencies needed to fully engage with today’s participatory culture. Featuring Henry Jenkins from MIT.

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I’m just beginning Block 6, Adventure # 2 ~ The Quicksand of Multiple Literacies ~ for my EC&I 832 master’s class. I read the Wikipedia definition of Multiple LiteraciesMultiliteracies is a term coined by the New London Group.[1] Because the way people communicate is changing due to new technologies, and shifts in the usage of the English language within different cultures, a new “literacy” must also be used and developed.” I then moved on to the Educase Article Connecting the Digital Dots: Literacy of the 21st Century which stated that “Perhaps literacy, and numeracy for that matter, have never really been optional for fully functioning members of society. In our 21st century society—accelerated, media-saturated, and automated—a new literacy is required, one more broadly defined than the ability to read and write.” Next on the list was Dr. Michael Wesch’s video Information R/evolution which “explores the changes in the way we find, store, create, critique, and share information. This video was created as a conversation starter, and works especially well when brainstorming with people about the near future and the skills needed in order to harness, evaluate, and create information effectively.” The readings and video made had me thinking about last year’s  Saskatchewan iT Summit where David Warlick was the key note speaker. Warlick challenges the way we are teaching and learning. During his presentations to teachers he wants to challenge them to expand their perceptions of teaching and learning and dare to consider our professional future with optimism and excitement.”

Mike Sansone CC

“Today, we are not just about Literacy,
But, “Learning Literacy,”

Not just about Literacy Skills,
But, “Literacy Habits,”

Not just about Lifelong Learning,
But, it is a “Learning Lifestyle.”


I went back and reread my blog post after listening to Warlick speak and found that what he said a year ago still resonates and challenges me.

Redefining Literacy with David Warlick March 24th, 2009

http://davidwarlick.com/wordpress/

How do we prepare students for a world and future we don’t know about. We need to stop integrating technology but integrate literacy. If students are literate “in terms of their information landscape” they will ask questions and challenge information. Students must be willing and encouraged to ask questions. In fact, we want students to become digital detectives; look for clues and evidence about where their information is coming from. We want literacy to go beyond reading text on paper and answering questions about the text. Students are reading in a global electronic highway where anyone can publish which means that the demands for literacy are changing. Today literacy means that students need to “expose what’s true: find, critically evaluate, organize and apply.”

We also need to teach students to communicate their ideas in a compelling way that moves beoynd text to videos, photos, digital storytelling, music and art.

Contemporary Literacy:

karindalziel CC

Exposing What’s True

Employing the Information

Expressing Ideas Compellingly

Do it all within an Ethical Context

Redefine Literacy, so that it reflects today’s information.

In more recent blog posts and presentations Warlick continues to challenge educators and  the literacies they are teaching for.

“I frequently talk about expanding our notions of literacy from the 3Rs to 4Es, expanding:

  • Reading to Exposing what’s true A range of skills going beyond simply reading to finding the information within a global network, evaluating the information to determine its value, organizing the information, and decoding the information.
  • Arithmetic to Employing the information An appreciation that all information is structured from numbers today, and the skills to work those numbers to add value to the information.
  • Writing to Expressing ideas compellingly When technical information doubles every 72 hours, information must compete for our attention.  To produce a message that will attract an audience, literacy includes the ability to communicate effectively with text, sound, images, video, and animation.
  • and adding in Ethics as a critical part of any definition of or conversation about literacy.”

With so much to think about I question whether I’m doing a good job acknowledging the different forms of literacy in the classroom. Am I doing what I can to help my students explore the various forms of literacy by giving them opportunities in the classroom? Every time I read articles, blogs or view videos I find myself reflecting and questioning my teaching practice which I guess is the whole point.

Cristóbal Cobo Romaní CC